Newly Discovered Scaffold Supports Turning Pain Off, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Study
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered a "scaffolding" protein that holds together multiple elements in a complex system responsible for regulating pain, mental illnesses and other complex neurological problems. The finding, published in the May 6 issue of Nature Neuroscience, could give researchers a new target for drugs to treat these often-intractable conditions. The discovery, detailed in a study led by neuroscience professor Paul Worley, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, focuses on a family of proteins called group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) that lie on the surfaces of nerve cells. When these receptors lock in glutamate, a chemical that neurons use to communicate, it encourages neurons to fire.